At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in late 2015, the global community set a goal to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius by 2100, and eventually to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
While many countries are stepping up their efforts, some are doing so more than others. Here are three countries making the news with their transition to renewable energy.
Already the world leader in solar power production, Germany took it a step further one day in mid-2016 when the country’s forces of nature were so strong that enough renewable energy was produced to cover almost all the country’s energy needs.
There was such an abundance of solar and wind power generated that power prices actually went into negatives for a 15 minute period – meaning consumers were theoretically being paid to use energy1.
While this is proof enough power can be generated by the county’s renewable sources, there’s still issues around the capacity to store it so other sources are still required for when the solar and wind drop off. However, this technology is developing and Germany is aiming to be powered entirely by renewable energy sources by 20502.
Portugal made headlines around the world when the entire country was powered by renewable energy for four days straight. That’s right; all electricity consumption was covered by solar, wind and hydro power for 107 consecutive hours3.
This impressive achievement was the result of huge changes to the country’s energy policy over the last five years. That combined with their abundant renewable resources – the Iberian Peninsula is a strong wind resource, there’s great hydropower and a high sunshine rate – saw the country’s renewable energy capacity more than triple between 2004 and 20094.
China has already surpassed their 2020 carbon emissions target of 15 per cent with 18 per cent of the country’s power currently generated from renewable sources.
In 2015, solar energy capacity increased 74 per cent on 2014; that’s not to mention that wind power capacity increased 34 per cent5. This has been the result of increased investment in the industry, jumping from $39 billion to $111 billion in just five years6, making China the world’s largest installer of clean energy7.